Saturday, September 26, 2020

3 Buzz Weak Flood Coverage

The Chargers are in Nickel personnel on 3rd&10 vs. 11 personnel.

The Chiefs are in a 3x1 with the TE in a reduced split.

The pre-snap coverage look is 3 buzz weak playing a 4 under 3 deep zone coverage.

Kansas City has a plan to attack the expected coverage on 3rd&10. 

The route starts with the reduced split Y on a width release curl/stop route past the sticks. The route is designed to widen the Corner in his 1/3 as well as pull the curl-flat Will LB out wide.

The inside WR to the strong side is running a spot curl setting up on the opposite hash in the weak hook zone. The Slot is going over the top of the spot route on a deep over route. The goal is to create a high/low on the buzz safety in the weak hook. If the Safety jumps down on the spot route at the sticks the over route has a void to attack. If the buzz safety stays deep for the over the spot route can sit down at the sticks for a 1st down completion. 

Strong side the RB swinging is designed to hold/widen the Hook/C-F defenders. The outside WR is running a basic. If the Hook dropper squeezes back inside with the crossing routes the basic can be a 3rd option after the high low on the weak hook.

The Chargers however are not running just a zone 3 buzz weak. They are flooding the coverage. The Chiefs have the RB strong representing a 4 strong load pattern distribution.

The coverage is man from the back side Corner. With the Corner handling the Y 1on1, the defense can distribute differently. With the Corner no longer playing a deep zone he no longer needs a C-F dropper to handle the routes in the underneath zone. The weak side curl-flat dropper can drop to the #4 instead of zone dropping the C-F. The defense now has an underneath dropper working to 1-2-3-4.

When the RB (#4) runs a route strong the Will LB opens to the strong side looking for the first crosser. The Will is in great body position to handle the crosser coming back across on the spot route. When #4 goes strong the buzz Safety can pass the 1st crosser to the Will. The buzz Safety is free to handle the new #3 coming across (S) on the over route. By matching the buzz Safety on the over route, the void area the offense was attempting to attack is no longer available. Having the Will/Buzz Safety distributing this way eliminates the high/low in the weak hook zone. Strong side the Mike is able to get into the window of the new #2 (Z) on the basic while the C-F Nickel leverages the RB in the flat. 

The Mike ends up squeezing inside with the QB's front shoulder intentions. With the spot and over routes covered the QB takes the Y on the 1on1 vs. the Corner in man. The QB is pressured by a great 4 man pass rush which helps force an errant throw. The pressure also prevents the QB from having time to work back to the basic route. 

Cover 3 is a simple concept. Teams that run Cover 3 variants as the bulk of their coverage concepts have all the nuanced adjustments to handle whatever offenses throw at them.

Well done from the Chargers and Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Bluffing Pressure to Manipulate Pass Protection

The Steelers are in Nickel personnel on 2nd & Long vs. a compressed 11 personnel formation.

The Rush:

The DL is attacking their gaps with the Will pressuring the open B gap.

The Coverage:

3 Under 3 Deep Firezone

The pressure pattern is very simple but also highly effective. The Steelers bluff the Mike and the Nickle as pressure threats. This creates the possibility of 4 from a side. The threat of 4 from a side causes the issue for the pass protection.

If the offense were in a half slide concept opposite the Nickel:

The 4 from a side threat is a major issue. The defense will have a 2 on 1 overload on the RB. The QB would need to throw hot off the 2nd rusher because the RB can only block 1 of the threats, the QB must account for the 2nd. The protection would however picked up the Will pressure the Steelers actually ran pretty easily. The threat of 4 from a side pressure the Steelers were showing helps prevent this protection.

If the offense is in a man protection:

In this example the OL "Miked" the Will LB. The OL has the 4 LOS threats and the Will LB in protection. The result is exactly like the half slide. 

The offense was not in either of these protections. Both of which match up well against the Will pressure. The pass pro is attempting to account for the 4 from a side threat resulting in a different protection scheme.

Without knowing the call from the offense it is difficult to access what the protection call was on the play. I could be a half slide with the RB bonused.

In this example the slide is working to the pressure threat and the RB is with the slide. This allows the protection enough bodies to block 4 from a side.

The more likely situation is a man protection with the OL "Mike" declaring the Mike LB.

In this example the OL declared the Mike and is accounting for the 4 LOS threats and the Mike. The RB is dual reading the Nickel to the Will.

In both the half slide and man protection examples the protection can handle 4 from a side.

Unfortunately for the protection the bluffed pressure look from the Steelers was not the actual pressure postsnap. 

The protection is accounting for the 4 strong look which allows the Will to run through in the B gap.

To both be ready to handle the 4 from a side pressure threat and handle the Will, the RB has to scan.

In the clip the RB didn't scan which allowed for the run through. The RB checked the Nickel then looked inside to the Mike. Even if the RB had scanned, a coast to coast block by the RB is difficult on a full speed rusher. This is where pressure planning comes together. The Steelers are representing a threat the protection has to ready to block. Built off the 4 from a side look is a complimentary piece that leads to confusion and a very difficult block for the RB. The protection cannot simply ignore a 4 from a side threat. If the offense will ignore it, the defense can come back with a called 4 from a side and create quick pressure. Exotic pressure patterns aren't the only way to create pressure. A simple pattern complimented with a bluff can create big challenges for pass pro.

Great stuff from Pittsburgh Defensive Coordinator Keith Butler. 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Overload Front Cover 1 Pressure

 The Steelers are in Dime Personnel on 3rd & 7 vs. 11 personnel.

The Rush:

The front is overload with 3 DL on the same side of the center. To the overload side there is a twist game with the DT up the field and the Rush looping inside. The DT is working a 1on1 vs. the Center and crosses face. The Rush opposite the overload is contain with the Nickel pressuring through heel line of the up field rush on a straight line run to the QB.

The Coverage:

Cover 1

The overload plus the walked up Mike covers all the OL. The protection is forced into man blocking with 5 1on1 matchups vs. the DL and the Mike. By forcing man protection the Guard is wasted on the Mike who is man covering the RB. Also the man protection helps the twist game to the overload avoid a slide protection concept giving help on the twist. The DT crossing face on the Center helps create space for the twist to operate to the overload side. The Dime is presenting pressure in the B gaps to attract the attention of the RB. The goal being the getting the RB to step up inside to block the Dime as a rush threat leaving the Nickel on a free run. The RB isn't fooled and even points the edge IDing the pressure threat. The Safety to the pressure also caps the blitz indicating the Nickel is going. The RB oversets to a perceived edge pressure threat when the Nickel is on the inside rush path. 

Nice design from Keith Butler. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Cover 3 Safety Sim Pressure

 The Ravens are in a specialized pass rush Dime Personnel on 3rd & 5.

The Rush:
The DE's are contain with the Nose working away from the pressure. The Safety is pressuring the weak side inside pass rush line.

The Coverage:
Sting - 3 Under 3 deep Firezone with a free/bonus dropper to create 4 under 3 deep concept.

With the mugged up A/B gap threats and the safety bluffing pressure strong the OL slides to the strong side rush threats. The slide allows for the pressure safety running through on the RB 1on1. The coverage creates confusion also. The initial look is 1 high pressure, but when the post aligned safety rotates down the look simulates a zero pressure. The QB has to ID one safety rotating down while the other is popping the top to the post. 1 high coverage that rotate to 1 high can be difficult to quickly ID under pressure. 

In coverage the free/bonus dropper is able to collision the #3 receiver which helps make the 3RH droppers job easier. The seam droppers hang in the seams as opposed to expanding to the flats.

Nice pressure design from Wink Martindale.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Cover 3 Sim Pressure vs Empty

The Ravens are in Nickel personnel with OLB bodies at DE vs. 12 personnel empty on 2nd & Long.

The Rush:

The front is spaced like an even front in over G. The Mike walks up running a twist game with the DT. The 2i DT is looping to contain opposite the pressure.

The Coverage:

Sting Concept - Sting is a 3 under 3 deep firezone with a 4th dropper as the free/bonus dropper. The end result is a 4 under 3 deep 3 buzz like coverage.

Here is another example of Sting vs. Empty from the Rex Ryan/Mike Pettine. 

The OL is in a 5 man protection. The usage of the DT in a G helps influence the Center. The Center is looking to give the guard help with an inside shaded DL. When the Mike walks up the defense has 3 rushers overloading 2 blockers. The Center is forced to redirect to a full speed inside LB. The T/G do a nice job squeezing inside to take the most inside threats. The G loses his 1on1 but the T/G do a nice job of taking the 2 most inside threats and leaving the widest rusher. The QB drifts away from the unblocked rusher to give the protection a chance. 

Without knowing the call the coverage is difficult to tell. I think it is Sting because of other sim pressure concepts the Ravens have run as well as the coaching tree Wink Martindale comes from. However, this could also be 3 buzz with 2 Curl-Flat and 2 hook droppers.

Why differentiate between sting and 3 buzz? Playing a sting concept allows the defense to maintain it's firezone coverage principles when bringing 4 instead of 5. The Ravens bring 5 and play fire zone regularly. A concept like sting can help eliminate complexity. It can be easier on players to stay this is fire zone with a free/bonus dropper when rushing 4 instead of a different coverage like 3 Buzz. The 5th rusher is simply replaced by the free/bonus dropper in Sting to create the 4 under 3 deep coverage.

Nice job creating pressure with a non-traditional 4 man pass rush from the Ravens and Wink Martindale. 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

2 Point Play

Here is a really nice 2 point play from the Bears back in 2017. The play is combination of some classic football plays. There is an element of the hand to hand counter found in wing offenses, a speed option concept, as well as blocking of gap scheme staple power. The play shares some concept with power read as well.

The OL is blocking power to the open edge. The EMLOS (Will) is the read on the option. The play begins as a lateral flow handoff to the RB. The RB gives the U an underneath handoff following the pulling guard. Following the handoff the QB gets into pitch relationship with the U. The U is reading the EMLOS. If the read key runs up the field to take the QB as the pitch the U will follow the puller into the endzone. If the read key plays to the U, the ball is pitched to the QB.

Really nice design and execution on a 2 point play from the Bears. Good stuff from former offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains.